A tree fell on our house while we were away, camping. We three, in a tent, near a glassy lake, at the top of a diminutive mountain, five hours from the city. Our dreadlocked dog sitter – who, by choice, has no fixed address, lives to dance – and two yippy dogs, in a car on our street setting off for the park watching as the enormous tree creaked, groaned, leaned towards our house, rested on the roof. The tree’s roots – some thicker than a human torso – lifted the concrete footpath so high the slabs’ ends pointed to the sky, lifted our fence – palings like crooked English teeth, yanked up the leggy shrubs that grew under it. The stump alone weighed 2.6 ton the crane driver told me when he and his six men, two chainsaws, a truck, came to sever its cling to the earth, pulled it from the ground. They cut it as close to the soil as they could. Our car (a four-door Golf) weighs, I think, a little over 2 ton. Twenty dining tables in that tree, he said, which was a curious measure but one I understood and could picture. Continue reading
I’m writing a second manuscript while my agent waits on publishers’ responses to my first one. I may not land a publisher for either manuscript, despite my agent’s committed efforts – there are many people who write and only a small number of publishers.
If I find my publishing person, getting from manuscript to book takes a long time. Not only is the process long and rocky, but I find myself defending it to people who ask why I’m even trying to participate in it.
In answer to the many who’ve asked why I’m bothering with the slow, arcane and fraught business of traditional publishing (as opposed to self publishing) when, as my digitally oriented partner says, ‘the model is broken’, I write this… Continue reading
This short piece – just a half-dozen paragraphs – is by Chuck Palahniuk, the American novelist who wrote Fight Club. I’m sharing it because it strikes me as a wise and simple way of encouraging people who create to keep creating. Whatever you do, keep doing it, and ignore judgement. Your writing, science experiment, gardening, coding, community project, whatever. No matter what others think, if you have faith in what you’ve made, and the process of making it gives you joy, keep going. Continue reading
A lot happened in 1913. It’s a year often neglected by history books since so much that was world-changing occurred during the 1914 to 1918 Great War that followed. However, I’m working on a project that spins around the years 1913 to 1916 so I’ve had the good fortune to learn more about this time. These are some of the remarkable events that happened a hundred years ago.
I’ve started writing on Medium. It’s a wonderfully clean and easy place to post. It does mean, however, one more website in my life…
So, in the name of corralling, organising, and faking control, I’m putting a link here to my most recent article on Medium.
It’s called Australia, Go to Your Room.
Miranda July is endlessly interesting. She writes, and makes films and multimedia art. Sometimes she acts. But for that pedestrian description to have any bearing you need to look at her work. If you’ve dismissed July on the grounds of quirky, hip, and cute, I hear you. I don’t like anything that wears those labels. I think her work rises above those things. Continue reading
The second issue of annual digital magazine Open Field is now on the iTunes store.
The easiest way to download it for your iPhone or iPad is to use the link on the Open Field website.
But why should you?
Well, for $4.50 you can enjoy work by 30 talented women, including writing from Elif Shafak (Honour), Emma Donoghue (Room), Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs) and Lily Brett (Lola Bensky), art from actor-painter Ione Skye, as well as photos, a poem, a video and a song!
Should you wish to download the first issue you’ll find writing from Fatima Bhutto, Anne Summers, Claudia Karvan and Alice Garner, art from Louise Weaver, a story from musician Sally Seltmann, and an interview with restaurateur Nahji Chu.
Everyone involved in the creation of Open Field offered their time and talent without payment. That includes the contributors, editor, and the people at The Royals who stopped work on other projects to make Open Field. Proceeds go to the charity CARE to assist them with their programs that help women in developing communities. So it’s one group trying to step up for another, offering more funds than we could if we were to dive into our separate, less-than-impressive bank accounts.
We hope you’ll take a look, enjoy the magazine, and know that the money you’ve paid is going to a good place.
Wolves are amazing animals. Anyone who watches Game of Thrones or has travelled wilderness areas of the northern hemisphere or has heard a wolf’s spine-tingling howl knows this. Wolves are entrancing, enigmatic.
Earlier this year I read Mark Rowland’ s book The Philosopher and the Wolf. Rowlands writes about the eleven years he spent with a wolf called Brenin. While you may not agree with the conclusions Rowland came to as a result of this incredible interaction, I promise you’ll find the story, and his take on human nature, fascinating. Continue reading
Listening to writers read from their work and talk about it is a treat. Here are some gems I’ve heard lately, not all new but all terrific.
Joan Didion reads from Blue Nights and is interviewed by Jeffrey Brown on PBS News Hour. My admiration for this woman is limitless. To see a snippet of her in her youth, watch this 1970s NBC interview with Tom Brokaw.
Junot Diaz (pictured above) talks and talks, and also reads from his amazing book of linked short stories, This is How You Lose Her. Continue reading
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Most of them are about books and writing, popular culture, current affairs. I listen to podcasts when I’m walking my dogs, doing things domestic, or filling my supermarket trolley. I listen because having smart talk in my ears makes dull tasks more than bearable – I look forward to time with my people. Continue reading
Posted in Books, Podcast, Write
Tagged Alec Baldwin, BBC, Guardian, Longform, Mariella Frostrup, Monocle, New Yorker, NPR, podcast, Slate, Studio 360, The Moth